Marcia Strykowski

Tiny Books

In an age of tiny houses (all the rage in USA and Canada) and tiny food (very popular in Japan), I’ve been thinking about how we also have tiny books. The librarian who orders nonfiction at my library is rather petite and seems to like small things, so at first I thought she might feel a connection when ordering such tiny books. But won’t they get lost on the shelf? I wondered. However now I’m realizing she was just ahead of her time. Nowadays these hidden gems seem to be popping up more and more. Below are a few tiny nonfiction books that caught my eye when we recently added them to our library collection.

Nature’s Remedies is a beautiful little book with delicate watercolor illustrations throughout. This user-friendly guide introduces beginner herbalists to a wide variety of medicinal herbs.

I haven’t read The Minimalist Mom but the subtitle alone: How to Simply Parent Your Baby seems to bring a breath of fresh air to all the old texts on the rules of parenting.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up certainly got me motivated to get rid of a few bags of stuff. The narrative sometimes seems a little bit over-the-top but overall the reasoning for how life can be simpler and less stressful when one owns less clutter is definitely one I agree with.

Possibly because I’m part Danish, but I absolutely loved The Little Book of Hygge. I listened to the audio version read by the author himself. This isn’t always the best choice for readers, but Meik did an excellent job and his Danish accent brought much to the performance. I for one quickly got in the mood to gather friends, sip warm drinks, and play board games, all the while a storm rages outside.

At only 5 inches square, Genetics in Minutes is unbelievably packed with information as well as with many photographs and diagrams. There are over 400 pages containing user friendly concepts of genes, DNA, biology basics and much more. As the back cover states: Genetics in Minutes is the “fastest way to grasp genetics, from Darwin’s finches to Dolly the sheep.”

Herbs + Flowers is another little book about herbs but this one explains in detail how, when, and where to plant them  (and even describes what each one tastes like). There are lovely illustrations and a good index at the back. Thirty-two of the most popular herbs and edible flowers are included.

I haven’t dipped into these last three books yet, but their covers prove they hold important information. When flipping through 21 Ways to a Happier Depression I found it to be very visually pleasing–a nice design with splashes of watercolor paintings and quotations sprinkled here and there.

Don’t let these diminutive delights fool you; not only do they easily fit in a pocket or purse for on-the-go reading, but on closer inspection they all seem to reveal great thoughts worth pondering.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer and as always, thanks so much for reading!

34 Comments

  1. I’ve always had an affinity with small books but hadn’t considered it might have anything to do with my stature, but you know you could be right! I travel by train quite a lot and always take the smallest lightest book from my TBR pile because it fits inside my handbag and is not too heavy.
    Given a choice between all the lovely books you share here I would start with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up quickly followed by Astrophysics for people in a hurry, I like the idea of reading that on a train!

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    • I was just teasing about my petite friend (who happens to drive a small car, etc.). Your two choices sound great for train riding (although you might wish you could dash home and tidy up). I’ve always liked tiny books, too, I just couldn’t picture them standing tall with the big books on a library shelf. Hope all is going well, Barbara!

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      • Oh yes, perhaps I should read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up before catching the train! 🙂

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        • When I read about decluttering I get inspired, but as soon as I finish the book I go back to my old ways of hanging onto more than I should. I think it’s time for me to read another tidying book. 🙂

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  2. Colleen

    Tiny books! I have some from years (decades!) ago. Mostly children’s classics. tiny hands love tiny books – even before they can read, they like the feel of the tiny book and ,of course! the pictures. Thank you for another inspiring post, Marcia!

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    • I have some of those tiny children’s books, too. One set is called the Nutshell Library and another small one is A Pocketful of Proverbs. I hadn’t thought about it but I guess I have lots of little ones here at home. They seem more startling at the library where there are so many huge books vying for shelf space. Enjoy the rest of the week, Colleen!

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  3. These books sound fun 🙂 real little gems 🙂

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    • I think they’re great for people on the go who don’t always have a lot of reading time. 🙂

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  4. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for pocket size books on the shelves now. I like your selection!

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  5. A lovely post, Marcia. Tiny books are not an entirely new idea, the Bronte siblings used to create tiny books when they were children. I believe you can still see some of their tiny creations in the Bronte Museum in Yorkshire.

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    • Oh, my, I would love to see their tiny books on display. I think small-sized books have usually been more for home collections in the past. It’s having so many at a public library that seems new to me. Thanks for sharing about the Brontes!

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  6. I’ve just borrowed a tiny book on feminism by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – I didn’t know there was another one! Not read it yet though. My book group read Americanah recently and I then went on to read Half of a Yellow Sun. Such a good writer, and I learned so much.

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    • Great, now you’ll have a new one to read. 🙂 I read and enjoyed Half of a Yellow Sun years ago with a book group–excellent read!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up! Great list.

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    • I enjoyed it, too. There’s a second book by Kondo called Spark Joy… 🙂

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  8. Oops — the above comment was from me.

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  9. Bette Norton

    I love this post! I would be interested in reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I am in the middle of downsizing to a much smaller home. For the past two years now I have been slowly parting with many house hold items, some near and dear to my heart. I agree life is less stressful with less clutter. More room to grow and breathe! “The Little Book of Hygge” sounds very cozy. A perfect book to read for my upcoming vacation! Tiny books are ideal for traveling and being on the go!
    Thank you for putting a bug in my ear! I am off to find some tiny new books! 🙂

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    • Have a wonderful vacation, Bette, sounds like you deserve some rest and relaxation! 🙂

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  10. The books on home remedies, herbs, and simplifying definitely appeal to me. Thanks for sharing these tiny books, Marcia. They sound like fun reads. 🙂

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  11. Deborah Nolan

    Marcia the first book for sure on Herbs with watercolors throughout makes me want to check it out. The Magic of Tiding up sounds like something I need to read. Been studying a bit on that Dutch word Hygge. Makes me think here in America we need to do a bit more of it with friends and family. Well thank you again for sharing. It is always fun to see what you are recommending to read. Have a great day.

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    • Studies say Danes are the happiest people in the world and now that I understand more about Hygge, I can see how they earn that honor. You’ve chosen some of my favorites. Like you, I love watercolor paintings and I think you’ll enjoy the illustrations in these. 🙂

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  12. What a delightful post, Marcia! I remember as a child having a collection of three tiny books in a sleeve titled (I think) The Nutshell Library. I loved those tiny books! I’m glad to see that the idea has carried over to adult books. The ones you list look wonderful! I will have to see how my library handles tiny books. Many thanks!

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    • I had (and still have) that same little Nutshell Library! Those tiny book sets are half the size of the books in this post (thank goodness, or they would definitely get lost in the library). Now I’m inspired to do another post sometime with the tiniest of tiny books. Enjoy the start to your summer vacation, Jennie!

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      • I’m so glad you still have yours! Thanks, Marcia. I look forward to another tiny book post. Happy summer!

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  13. Ashley

    I’m a slow reader and these little books look perfect for snatching little times to read. The genetics one looks awesome. Happy summer Marcia!!

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    • Happy summer to you, too, Ashley. I hope you can squeeze some reading in!

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  14. HI Marica!! At first I thought this post was going to be about min-versions of full sized books– I have tiny copies of Hungry caterpillar, When You Give A Pig A Pancake… But these are really smallish books! I read The Little Book of Hygge from my daughter’s bookshelf when I was there last winter. It is a call to coziness, fun! I keep seeing Hygge pop up all over. And am most interested in looking up The Minimalist Mom. Think my other daughter would like that one… Love love your book posts! Always find good ideas on your blog Marcia! Hope you’re doing well– summer reading? summer plans? summer eating? (I had a huge piece of watermelon for breakfast just now!). hugs from here friend!!

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    • Hi Rhonda, I love those tiny copies, too. In fact I think I also have one of Eric Carle’s. Glad you could get some ideas. My home internet is having problems (new service on Saturday!) so I’m sitting in a local library at the moment trying to catch up. We’ve had a few lovely porch gatherings when the weather cooperates and I’m looking forward to my son’s visit home at the end of July. Popped into Boston last night to see lots of tall ships and I’m looking forward to a friend’s wedding shower this weekend, too. For reading, I’m enjoying The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. Thanks for checking in! xo

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  15. mirkabreen

    When it comes to tiny equals=not taking much space in the physical world, I suppose Ebooks win… I do like physical object in this physical part of our reality, though.

    The Tiny Books reminded me of a pair of earrinsg I have made by a master craftswoman. They are actual books with a poem from the Rubaiyat in each, and the books are covered with gold paper. They look good as earrings.
    It was a gift from someone who thought it right for an earring-wearing writer…

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    • Yes, I suppose eBooks don’t take up much space, although I much prefer books of paper. Your gold book earrings sound wonderful!

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